Your muscles are loose and warm from exertion. Heavy breath curls upward like steam.
White powder blankets the ground in gentle waves, and with each step the crystals beneath your boots break the silence with a rhythmic crunch.
You stop. Above you, branches stretch dark and bare. Snowflakes lie brightly against inky wood. Frozen water melts and slips, dripping onto your hair with a frosty splash.
A bird sits in the needles calling softly. He knows you are there and stares with a wary eye, but he continues his song.
You resume your step. The air hits your bare skin with a gentle rush. It wafts through your nostrils smelling of earth and wet trees. It swirls through your fingers and flits away.
Ahead, a bough folds across the path. You brush it aside and loosen the rusty leaves. Your eye follows with a downward glance.They lie orange and stark against the silvery ground.
The sun is casting an eerie, warm glow as it shines against the grey curtain that enshrouds it. Shadows dance then fade. A ray finds a gap in the clouds and the land sparkles.
Your foot sinks too deep and you must catch yourself. The cold pierces your hand as you grab the ground for balance. You are aware of the chilly water seeping into your wool socks.
You move on. Leaving the moment to linger behind you as pavement looms.